Singapore

Three hornbills released at Pulau Ubin

Three hornbills released at Pulau Ubin
One of the three Oriental Pied Hornbills released into the wild at Pulau Ubin as part of a conservation project started in 2004 by the Singapore Avian Conservation Team, Wildlife Reserves Singapore and NParks. Photo: Channel NewsAsia
Published: July 10, 6:03 PM

SINGAPORE — Three hornbills were released into the wild at Pulau Ubin today (July 10), as part of a conservation project started in 2004 by the Singapore Avian Conservation Team, Wildlife Reserves Singapore and NParks.

This is the fourth time the project team is releasing Oriental Pied Hornbills, which are native to Singapore. Previous release locations include Bukit Timah and Sungei Buloh.

Introducing new birds diversify the wild gene pool, making the species stronger and less prone to disease.

The three birds released — two males and a female — are from the Jurong Bird Park.

In a surprise turn of events, they were joined by a fourth, a wild hornbill.

Dr Minerva Bongco-Nuqui, curator at the Jurong Bird Park, said: “Our female is a little bit playful. Because (instead) of joining her partner, she joined instantly the other wild male here in Pulau Ubin. So that means they are welcome!”

The Oriental Pied Hornbill disappeared from Singapore in the mid-1800s due to habitat loss. It was only in 1994 when a pair was once again sighted at Pulau Ubin.

Today, the island has a population of about 60 hornbills. On mainland Singapore, there are an estimated 40 hornbills, bringing the total in Singapore to about 100. CHANNEL NEWSASIA